Thursday, April 04, 2019

Doepfer Polyphonic Modules - a conversation with Dieter Doepfer #TSR19 by MoltenMusicTech

Robin Vincent of MoltenModular had the opportunity to sit down with Dieter Doepfer, the inventor of the Eurorack format, and chat about modular with a specific focus on his new polyphonic range of modules. 

" Thomann took a bunch of YouTubers to their shop and told us to go play and make videos. 
So we did. 
This is straight to camera, one take, off-the-cuff, honest and fabulous. 
Thanks to Thomann for the opportunity and thanks to Moog for the loan of the ONE (that I then had to give back). 
Search for #TSR19 for more fantastic videos from fabulous synthesizer YouTubers. "

Molten Modular - 
Molten Music Tech on YouTube (subscribe!) 

Thursday, February 07, 2019

The Doepfer - Kraftwerk Connection

German Krautrock legends Kraftwerk and Dieter Doepfer have worked together for a long time.
As the only one in its industry Dieter Doepfer even may use their name for advertising purposes.

Florian Schneider (Kraftwerk) and Dieter
Dieter: One day i got a call from a Mr. Schneider who wanted to know if we could rebuild a special keyboard into a MIDI keyboard.
The caller was Florian Schneider of Kraftwerk. Schneider experimented much with speech synthesis, and had found a keyboard that was triggering speech sounds (phonemes) in place of letters.

Doepfer's miniature MMK2 keyboard for Kraftwerk
After the modification by Doepfer, Schneider was able to send signals to a sampler in which the sounds were stored.
In the end, the Kraftwerk operator could connect the phonemes with a sequencer into sentences.
Until it worked, Schneider had come several times to Munich, where they got to know eachother better.
Around that time, Dieter installed a MIDI-retrofit on their old EMS vocoder.
Also in the construction of the MAQ 16/3 analog sequencer with MIDI output, the company worked with the musicians.
Florian Schneider was apparently quite involved with the development of the 16/3, being regularly sent updates to the operating system and giving his comments in return.

Dieter: "Since then, we are allowed to use the name Kraftwerk to the device. But we do not want to overdo things"
In 1996 Florian Schneider also wrote a review for a German music magazine 'Keys' about one of the Doepfer company's newest items, the A-100 vocoder module and even contributed a short demonstration of the units capabilities on the free CD that accompanied the magazine.

During 2001-2002 Morgan Karlsson asked Dieter Doepfer about his collaboration with KRAFTWERK:

" Our collaboration with Kraftwerk started many years ago as we made some special designs for them (e.g. the miniature keyboards they use on stage for Taschenrechner/Pocket Calculator and a special phonetic keyboard for voice synthesis).

"Designed in cooperation with the
German Band KRAFTWERK"
The first unit we built in cooperation with Florian Schneider was the MAQ16/3. We built some prototypes and Florian tested them and told us what we would improve and which features are not required.
So we went many times to the KlingKlang studio in Dusseldorf until the final version of the MAQ was complete.

A similar cooperation - but not as close as with MAQ - was made for the SCHALTWERK.
(Kraftwerk also used/tested with a Doepfer MOGLI on stage around that time *PP)

Rumors are that the Doepfer logo was (partly) inspired
 by this 1983 Kraftwerk album font

The next cooperation was the A-100 vocoder.
We tested all of the vocoders of Florian (and that's a lot) and compared them to our A-100 vocoder prototypes (the first versions with different filter designs in quantity and filter response types, e.g. 10 band passes, 8 band passes and high/low pass, 13 band passes and the final version with 13 band passes and high/low pass).
And so we found a very good compromise between price and sound.
Even the very high priced vocoders sounded not significant better than the final A-129.

We learned a lot about vocoders e.g. that a treble boost of the incoming speech signal is very
important for a good vocoder effect (is now included in the A-129-5).
All high priced vocoders imply such a treble boost but the customers is not aware of this detail as there is sometimes no remark in the user manuals.
We experimented together with Florian with a 32 band graphic equalizer to find the best treble boost for good speech recognition and implemented it into the A-129-5."
Morgan Karlsson
Doepfer Keys interview (by the same Florian Schneider)

Tuesday, February 05, 2019

Video: The Secret Doepfer Files

I recently found these 2 older videos with Dieter Doepfer from video collective "Open Video Medien Labor", an open non commercial platform for video art.
As far as I know it is an open project - step by step - which could possibly finish with a Doepfer movie.
I like the way it is filmed anyway... but i have the feeling that it might become a looooong project.
I contacted the makers and hope to follow-up this blogpost with more info.

#07 Interview with HANS ZIMMER - A private conversation with Hans Zimmer and Dieter Döpfer
The Secret Doepfer Files from Open Video Medien Labor on Vimeo.
Hans Zimmer: "The reason why I like 'playing music' is because the word 'play' is there."

#08 Backstage Talk with JEAN MICHEL JARRE - after his concert at Philharmonie, Gasteig Culture Centrum in Munich 22.03.2008"
The Secret Doepfer Files 08 - Dieter and Jean Michel Jarre from Open Video Medien Labor on Vimeo.
Dieter Doepfer: "All the bread-and-butter analogue modules are done... most what can be done with analogue circuits is (already) available"

Monday, January 07, 2019

Dieter Doepfer Live at SchneidersLaden/ Berlin

    Dieter baked cookies (yes), gave a modular beginner workshop, did a presentation of his latest products and performed an interesting liveset. 
You can see the  A-197-3 VCO controlled RGB LED prototype in this video too (the dynamic LED control start about at 6:40)

Schneidersladen uploaded four videos of the evening - all worth checking out!

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Doepfer A-197-3 Controller for RGB LED Stripes

Interesting that Doepfer's latest modules include some cool small, nifty non-musical utility modules.
Last time they announced the 4 x USB eurorack power supply, and now this one:

" Module A-197-3 is a control unit for RGB LED stripes. The LED stripe is glued e.g. to the inner edges of the cases A-100P6/P9/PMS6/PMS9/PMS12 to illuminate the modules and patching statically or dynamically. Especially during live events the dynamic illumination in sync with the sound is an eye-catcher. Each color (red, green, blue) has available a manual control for the background brightness and a CV input with attenuator that enables the dynamic brightness controlled by other control voltages of the modular system. For example 3 envelopes can be used which also control the loudness or filtering of sound processing modules. But even other control applications are possible, e.g. LFO, random voltages, clock/gate/trigger signals, sequencer, Midi-to-CV.

These are the most important features of the module:
Control module for static or dynamic control of RGB LED stripes with up to 1m length (so far only this length has been tested, with a sufficient external power supply even longer stripes should be no problem)
Manual controls for red, green and blue (small potentiometers without knobs)
CV inputs with attenuators for red, green and blue (small potentiometers without knobs)
Note: the CV inputs are planned for CV signals (e.g. envelope generators, LFOs), not for audio signals with frequency selective processing like lighting consoles
Control LED for each color
supply via the built-in power supply of the case or external (wall-art) supply to avoid the additional current consumption for the LED stripes
(the LED stripes do not require a high quality supply like those built into the A-100 cases)
the external +12V can be connected via a socket at the front panel (i.e. the additional supply is located outside the case) or inside to the pc board (i.e. the additional supply has to be installed inside the case by the customer)
required max. current with 1m RGB LED stripes: about 800 mA @ +12V (all three colors full brightness)
the top left edge of the front panel features a gap for the lead-trough of the LED stripe cable. Therefore the module has to be mounted at the left edge of the case: top left if only the top edge of the case is used to glue the LED stripe, middle left or bottom left if the LED stripe is glued like a reverse "U" to three edges of the case
The pc board is equipped with a pin header which is used to connect the standard LED stripe that comes with the module

In addition the pc board is equipped with a second pin header with 1/10" grid which can be used to connect other LED stripes than the standard type. A suitable female connector with 30 cm long cables with open ends for free wiring is included.
The module is suitable only for LED stripes with 12V power supply and common anode (+12V) with 4-wire cables (+12V/R/G/B).
A suitable 1m long RGB LED stripe is added for free. Due to possible problems during installation (e.g. improper glueing/removing or folding of the stripe) it is not covered by warranty but should be treated as a free add-on.
An external 12V supply has to be ordered separately if required (5.5/2.5 mm connector, plus = center)."
Release date: early in 2019
Edit 7/1/2019 Added Video: The module is shown in action (around 6.40) by Dieter Doepfer himself, filmed a few weeks ago at SchneidersLaden/ Berlin...

Tuesday, May 08, 2018

Doepfer 4 x USB Power Module A-183-9

USB Power module prototype
Without any preliminary information Doepfer had one small surprise at the Superbooth event in Berlin last weekend.

Their latest module is a 2HP wide USB Power module.
This module has 4 USB ports directly on the frontplate, and has a LED light at the bottom that shows if the module is active or not.

The module can be used for powering other equipment like a USB-keyboard or any other stuff that uses 5v USB power.
Charging your mobile phone or tablet or powering one of those USB-powered lights or small fans is also possible.

Okay, the idea is not new... but knowing Doepfer this will probably be very competitively priced again.

There's no release date on this module yet ( doesn't even have a name or number too) , but I guess it will be in production soon.

Source: by

Edit May 18th, 2018
A-183-9 Quad USB Power Supply will be the name and number.

Note: The module requires an A-100 case with built in power supply A-100PSU3 ! Only this A-100 supply has the required +5V available.
Doepfer does not recommend the usage of an older A-100 case with A-100PSU2 as this would require the +5V adapter A-100AD5 and the max. current would be limited to 100mA.

Tuesday, May 01, 2018

Doepfer A-157-4 Module, Trigger Sequencer Midi/USB/control outputs Announced for Superbooth 2018

A wide range of more than 200 exhibitors is now preparing for the upcoming Superbooth event (May 03 until 05, 2018,) in Berlin.
The program for the three days consists of exhibitions, concerts, workshops, DIY and more.
You can find all info at

Doepfer will be there too, ofcourse... and besides the already announced 'new' modules, they will also show a new expansion-module for the A-157 Trigger Sequencer combo (or Mini Schaltwerk), the A-157-4 Midi/USB/control outputs.

They will have a working prototype available that will be shown at Superbooth.

It offers the control signals Start, Stop, Reset and Clock as outputs so that the A-157 module combo can be used as master for other devices (e.g. A-154/A-155, another A-157 or other sequencers).
It also connects the A-157 to Midi (in and out) and USB.

Doepfer will be demonstrating the A-157-4 at the Superbooth controlling the instruments of a Roland TR-8 via Midi or USB.

The Doepfer booth number is O212.